A question of balance

Which SEO techniques are ‘dead’ this week?

There seem to have been a plethora of articles in recent weeks about all the SEO techniques that allegedly don’t work anymore. Whether it’s reciprocal links (seems like that one’s been dying for years), free directory submissions, paid directory submissions, link bait, paid links, or whatever (funny how these are all about links – as Michael Martinez would say, if all you think about are links you’re not doing SEO!). Usually these ‘stories’ are based on some Google tweak, real or imagined, news of which then spawns endless ill-informed speculation and forum posts, and often a load of whining; the latter usually from people who are trying to game the system and aren’t happy that their favourite method (or maybe only method) has been downgraded.

The truth is rather different. Few of these techniques are dead, as long as they are used in a balanced way. Of course if you rely on a single technique then you deserve all the grief you get when it goes down the tubes. The sensible and ‘ethical’ way has always been to maintain a natural balance. It’s natural to have some entries in directories – that’s what they were invented for. It’s not natural to have 1000’s of them and no other links. Nor is it natural to have links in directories that are based on totally different subjects – why is your property site in the middle of sex and gambling links?

It’s natural that some sites will be sufficiently similar that you each link to the other, and it’s natural that there will be cases where you are sufficiently grateful that someone has linked to you that you want to link back. It’s not natural if all your links are reciprocal.

At the end of the day the search engines (in theory) are looking for quality sites. Such sites usually have a natural balance of all these factors. An imbalance of any of them is at best a warning to the algorithms that a site may not be entirely kosher and at worst may show a concerted attempt to gain unfair advantage.

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